CORPORATIONS AND LEGAL PERSONALITY

DEFINITION OF A COMPANY A company is an entity registered as such under the Companies Act 2006. The key feature of a company is that it has a legal personality (existence) distinct from its members and directors. LEGAL PERSONALITY A person possesses legal rights and is subject to legal obligations. In law, the term 'person' is used to denote two categories of legal person. • An individual human being is a natural person. A sole trader is a natural person, and there is legally no distinction between the individual and the business entity in sole tradership • The law also recognises artificial persons in the form of companies and limited partnerships. Unlimited partnerships are not artificial persons. Legal personality (also artificial personality) is the characteristic of a non-human entity regarded by law to have the status of a person. A legal person, (also artificial person and body corporate) has a legal name and has rights, protections, privileges, responsibilities, and liabilities under law, just as natural persons (humans) do. The concept of a legal person is a fundamental legal fiction. It is pertinent to the philosophy of law, as is essential to laws affecting a corporation (corporations law) (the law of business associations). Legal personality allows one or more natural persons to act as a single entity (a composite person) for legal purposes. Legal personality allows such composite to be considered under law separately from its individual members or shareholders. They may sue and be sued, enter contracts, incur debt, and own property. Entities with legal personality may also be subjected to certain legal obligations, such as the payment of tax. An entity with legal personality shields its shareholders from personal liability. The concept of legal personality is not absolute. "Piercing the corporate veil" refers to looking at individual human agents
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involved in a corporate action or decision; this may result in a legal decision in which the rights or duties of a corporation are treated as the rights or liabilities of that corporation's shareholders or directors. LIMITED LIABILITY OF MEMBERS The fact that a company's members – not the company itself – have limited liability for its debts protects the members from the company's creditors and ultimately from the full risk of business failure. A key consequence of the fact that the company is distinct from its members is that its members have limited liability. Limited liability is a protection offered to members of certain types of company. In the event of business failure, the members will only be asked to contribute identifiable amounts to the assets of the business. ORGANISATIONS AND LEGAL PERSONALITY The formation and constitution of business organisations Protection for members against creditors The company itself is liable without limit for its own debts. If the company buys plastic from another company, for example, it owes the other company money. Limited liability is a benefit to members. They own the business, so might be the people whom the creditors logically ask to pay the debts of the company if the company is unable to pay them itself. Limited liability prevents this by stipulating the creditors of a limited company cannot demand payment of the company's debts from members of the company. PROTECTION FROM BUSINESS FAILURE As the company is liable for all its own debts, limited liability only becomes an issue in the event of a business failure when the company is unable to pay its own debts. This will result in the winding up of the company and enables the creditors to be paid from the proceeds of any assets remaining in the company. It is at winding up that limited liability becomes most relevant. Members asked to contribute identifiable amounts
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Although the creditors of the company cannot ask the members of the company to pay the debts of the company, there are some amounts that members are required to pay in the event of a winding up. CASES ON THE DOCTRINE AND VEIL OF INCORPORATION Salomon v Salomon & Co Ltd (1897) Facts: S transferred his business to a limited company. He was the majority shareholder and a secured creditor. The company went into liquidation and the other creditors tried to obtain repayment from S personally. Held: S as shareholder and director had no personal liability to creditors, and he could be repaid in priority as a secured creditor. This enshrined the concepts of separate legal personality and limited liability in the law. Lee v Lee’s Air Farming Ltd (1960) Facts: This case concerned an aerial crop spraying business. Mr Lee owned the majority of the shares (all but one) and was the sole working director of the company. He was killed while piloting the aircraft. Held: Although Lee was the majority shareholder and sole working director of the company, he and the company were separate legal persons. Therefore he could also be an employee of the company for the purposes of the relevant statute with rights against it when killed in an accident in the course of his employment. Macaura v Northern Life Assurance (1925) Facts: M owned a forest. He formed a company in which he beneficially owned all the shares and sold his forest to it. He, however, continued to maintain an insurance policy on the forest in his own name. The forest was destroyed by fire. Held: He could not claim on the policy since the property damaged belonged to the company, not him, and as shareholder he had no insurable interest in the forest. Consequences of incorporation There are a number of consequences of being a separate legal entity:
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The usual result of lifting the veil is that the members or directors become personally liable for the company’s debts.  A company has perpetual succession.  A company is subject to the requirements of the Companies Act 2006 (CA06). 4 .  The management of a company is separated from its ownership.  Where a company suffers an injury. This is known as the rule in Foss v Harbottle. the directors can be made personally liable for any loss or damage suffered by a third party: s767 CA06. if a director who is disqualified participates in the management of a company.  A company is liable for its own debts. If a company fails. members and/or directors liable for wrongful or fraudulent trading may be personally liable for losses arising as a result (see chapter 13). that director will be jointly or severally liable for the company’s debts. Statutory examples There are a number of occasions on which statute will intervene to lift the veil:  Under the Insolvency Act 1986 (IA 1986).  If a public company starts to trade without first obtaining a trading certificate.  Under the Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986.  A company owns its own property.  Lifting the veil of incorporation Meaning The phrase ‘lifting the veil of incorporation’ means that in certain circumstances the courts can look through the company to the identity of the shareholders. irrespective of the fate ofshareholders.A company enters into contracts in its own name and can sue and be sued in its own name. it is the company itself that must take the appropriate remedial action. the liability of the shareholders is limited to any amount still unpaid on their share capital (or any amount they have agreed to contribute if the company is limited by guarantee).

• Jones v Lipman (1962) – The veil was lifted in order to prevent the seller of a house evading specific performance. a UK incorporated company. was owned by five individuals and a company incorporated in Germany. Nationality In times of war it is illegal to trade with the enemy. The subsidiary itself had no business activities. Groups Although each company within a group is a separate legal entity. DHN Food Distributors v London Borough of Tower Hamlets (1976) Facts: DHN carried on business from premises owned by a subsidiary. H had a personal contract with G restraining competition.Case law examples Sham companies The veil will be lifted only where ‘special circumstances exist indicating that it is a mere facade concealing the true facts’: Woolfson v Strathclyde Regional Council (1978). Both companies had the same directors. It may be possible to lift the veil of incorporation so as to impute to a company the same nationality as its members. as H had set it up to evade his own legal obligations. there have been a number of cases where the courts have lifted the veil between a holding company and its various subsidiaries. Only one individual was British and he held one share. The local authority acquired 5 . Daimler v Continental Tyre & Rubber Co (1916) Facts: The defendant. For example: • Gilford Motor Co Ltd v Horne (1933) – H formed a company to run a business in competition with G. This has generally been done in order to:  benefit the group by obtaining a higher compensation payment on the compulsory purchase of premises  benefit creditors of an insolvent company by making other companies within the group liable for its debts. The court held that the company could be restrained from competition. Held: The claimants need not discharge their debt to the defendants since effective control of the latter was in enemy hands and hence to do so would be to trade with the enemy.

Held: It was unsuccessfully argued that the veil should be lifted between the companies so as to enable the judgement to be enforced against Cape.the premises compulsorily but refused to pay compensation for disturbance of the business since the subsidiary. did not also carry on the business. Public companies Private (limited) companies Definition Registered as a public Any company that is company. Private company versus public company The following table summarises the basic differences between public companies and private companies. Members At least two members. Name Ends with plc or public Ends with Ltd or limited company. CPC. had a court judgement against it. be contrasted with the more recent case of Adams v Cape Industries (1990): Adams v Cape Industries (1990) Facts: Cape was an English registered company. a company incorporated and carrying on business in the United States. Capital Must not be less than the No minimum (or authorised maximum) 6 . Thus there was a valid claim for disturbance since ownership of the premises and business activity were in the hands of a single group. Held: The companies were. which owned the premises. The Court of Appeal said there were no special circumstances indicating that CPC was a mere facade for Cape such as was the situation in Jones v Lipman. limited. The above case can. There was no agency as CPC was an independent corporation under the control of its chief executive. and the DHN doctrine of economic reality would not be extended beyond its own facts to facts such as these where the effect would be to make a holding company liable for its subsidiary’s debts. however. Can have a single member. One of its subsidiaries. mutually interdependent on each other and therefore they should be regarded as a single economic entity. not a public company. in economic terms.

. Need not hold an AGM. Must file within nine months.Raising capital Start of trading Directors Secretary Accounts minimum (currently £50. Audit AGM Resolutions Accounts must be audited. The definition excludes people acting in a professional capacity. Must be qualified. May raise capital by advertising its securities (shares and debentures) as available for public subscription. must have allotted shares of at least that amount. Need not hold an AGM. Cannot pass written resolutions. Need not lay accounts before general meeting. a promoter is a person who ‘undertakes to form a company and who takes the necessary steps to accomplish that purpose’: Twycross v Grant (1878). Promoters Definition There is no statutory definition of a promoter.000) and. Audit not required if turnover below £5. in order to trade. Prohibited from offering its securities to the public. Minimum two.6m. Must be held each year. Can begin from date of incorporation. 7 . requirements. According to case law. Must file accounts within six months. Minimum one Need not have one. Must obtain trading certificate from Registrar before commencing trading.

S51 CA06 reinforces the common law position by providing that.  Rescind the contract – but this is not always possible. Preincorporation contracts A preincorporation contract is a contract made by a person acting on behalf of an unformed company. e.  Obtain damages – but this requires the company to prove loss. Shortly after incorporation the company collapsed. Neither could it ratify the contract after incorporation. The position at common law is that a company. B and C entered into a contract with the claimant to purchase goods on behalf of the proposed Gravesend Royal Alexandra Hotel Co. prior to its incorporation.  Recover the profit – the company must prove that the promoter has failed to disclose his profit from a transaction. if a third party has acquired rights under the contract. does not have contractual capacity and the promoter is therefore personally liable. Held: As the Gravesend Royal Alexandra Hotel Co was not in existence when the contract was made it was not bound by the contract and could not be sued for the price of the goods. (This is because a company does not legally exist until it is incorporated. the person making the contract is personally 8 .g. The goods were supplied and used in the business.Duties A promoter is under a fiduciary duty to: If a promoter does make a secret profit. the company may:  disclose any interest in transactions to the company and not to make a 'secret profit'  disclose any benefit acquired to an independent board and/or to the shareholders.) Kelner v Baxter (1866) Facts: A. subject to any agreement to the contrary.

liable. Registration Documents to Registrar The following documents must be submitted to the Registrar in order to form a company. Offtheshelf companies An ‘offtheshelf’ company is one that has already been formed. Clear and express words are needed in order to negate liability: Phonogram Ltd v Lane (1981). but that entails cost and administrative inconvenience. Disadvantage: The articles of association may be unsuitable. Memorandum of association 9 Signed by all subscribers and stating that they wish to form a company and agree to . They can be altered. so it is ready to contract. The promoter can protect his position by:  including a term in the contract giving the company the right to sue under the Contracts (Rights of Third Parties) Act 1999  postponing finalising contracts until the company is formed  entering into an agreement of novation (this involves discharging the original contract and replacing it with a new one) or assigning (transferring) the contract  agreeing with the company that there is no personal liability for the promoter  buying an 'offtheshelf' company. Buying off the shelf has a number of advantages and disadvantages: Advantages:    cheap and simple can trade immediately no problem of preincorporation contracts.

This provides confirmation that CA06 has been complied with. This states the maximum amount each member undertakes to contribute. Registration fee Registrar’s duties On receipt of the above documents the Registrar must:  Inspect the documents and ensure that Companies Act requirements are fulfilled. 10 . This must state: • the number of shares • their aggregate nominal value • how much has been paid up. The company exists from the date on the certificate of incorporation. This gives details of the first directors (and company secretary.  Issue certificate of incorporation which is conclusive evidence that Companies Act requirements have been fulfilled: s15 CA06. The application form must include: • the proposed name of the company • whether the members will have limited liability (by shares or guarantee) • whether the company is to be private or public • details of the registered office. if applicable) and their consent to act.Application Articles Statement of capital and initial shareholdings Statement of guarantee (if applicable) Statement of proposed officers Statement of compliance become members of the company. The model articles apply if no articles are supplied. It may be made in paper or electronic form.

 There are grounds for winding up if not obtained within one year: s122 IA 1986. Chartered.  The directors are personally liable if the company defaults within 21 days of due date.  It is a criminal offence to carry on business. University. If it trades before the certificate is issued:  The company and any officers in default are liable to a fine. In order to obtain a trading certificate. Insurance. England. National.  The amount of preliminary expenses and who has paid or is to pay them.  It cannot be the same as another in the index of names.  That at least a quarter of the nominal value and all of the premium have been paid up.Trading certificate – public companies only A plc cannot commence trading until the Registrar has issued a trading certificate. or too like.) or any name suggesting a connection with the government or any local authority.  It must have the Secretary of State's consent to use certain words (e. The Secretary of State can require a company to change its name in the following circumstances: Reason The name is the same as.  Any benefits given or to be given to promoters.000.g. an application must be made to the registrar which states:  The nominal value of allotted share capital ≥ £50. Name of company The name of the company must comply with the following rules:  It must have limited (Ltd) or public limited company (plc) at the end as applicable. etc. Royal.  It must avoid the tort of passing off (see chapter 3). but any contracts are still binding on the company.  It cannot use certain words which are illegal or offensive. an existing registered 11 Period 12 months .

name. They: internal  set out the manner in which the company is to be governed. No time limit 5 years Articles of association Introduction The articles of association form the company’s constitution. These model articles will apply where a company is formed without registering articles or where the articles registered do not exclude or modify the model articles. model articles will be prescribed by the Secretary of State. The name gives so misleading an indication of the nature of the company’s activities as to be likely to cause harm to the public. There are no mandatory contents. Misleading information or undertakings were given when applying for a name that required approval. or  may draft its own unique articles. Model articles For companies incorporated under Companies Act 2006. Alteration of articles Procedure  The articles can usually be altered by a special resolution (75% majority). 12 . and  regulate the relationship between the company and its shareholders. A company:  may adopt the model articles in full or in part  is deemed to have adopted the model articles if there is no express or implied provision to exclude them.

 If the change is bona fide.  S25 CA06 prevents a member being bound by any alteration made after he becomes a member that requires him to increase his liability or contribute further to the company. It is for the members to decide whether the change is bona fide in the interests of the company as a whole. Common law restriction Any change to the articles must be 'bona fide in interests of the company as a whole’: Allen v Gold Reefs of Africa (1900).Copies of the amended articles must be sent to the Registrar within 15 days.  Greenhalgh v Arderne Cinemas Ltd (1950) Facts: The issue was the removal from the articles of the members’ right of first refusal of any shares which a member might wish to transfer; the majority wished to make the change in order to admit an outsider to membership in the interests of the company. Held: The benefit to the company as a whole was held to be a benefit which any individual hypothetical member of the company could enjoy directly or through the company and not merely a benefit to the majority of members only. unanimous consent) may be required to change them. it is immaterial it that happens to inflict hardship or has retrospective operation.  The change will be void if actual fraud or oppression takes place.g. The test of good faith did not require proof of actual benefit but merely the 13 . This means that a specified procedure (e.  The court will not interfere unless no reasonable person would consider the change to be bona fide. It is possible to entrench some of the articles.  An alteration is not invalid merely because it causes a breach of contract but that does not excuse breach.

In several cases the court has held that actual and foreseen detriment to a minority affected by the alteration was not in itself a sufficient ground of objection if the benefit to the company test was satisfied. Southern Foundries (1926) Ltd and Federated Foundries Ltd v Shirlaw (1940) Facts: Alteration of the articles empowered the company to remove the managing director. Leese & Co (1920) Facts: The alteration was to expel a member who carried on a business competing with the company. The company by special resolution altered its articles so that the lien was available on fully paid up shares as well. but the MD could sue for breach of contract. Brown v British Abrasive Wheel Co (1919) Facts: The articles were altered to enable the majority to purchase at ‘a fair value the shares of the minority’. rather than the company as a whole. Allen v Gold Reefs of West Africa Ltd (1900) Facts: Z held fully paid up and partly paid up shares in the company. Held: The company had power to alter its articles by extending the lien to fully paid shares. Held: It was a valid alteration. The company’s articles provided for a lien for all debts and liabilities of any member upon all partly paid shares held by the member.honest belief on reasonable grounds that benefit could follow from the alteration. Held: This was not a bona fide alteration as it would benefit the majority shareholders. They objected to the alteration. Held: The alteration was valid. Sidebottom v Kershaw. The intention was to invoke the clause against some minority members who were refusing to inject further capital into the company. 14 .

The articles are enforceable by the shareholders against the company. Held: The proceedings were stayed.000 shares transferred the surplus to a nominee and directed him how to vote. Held: The right to vote was enforceable against the company. This means that the articles form a contract between the company and its members. The company could enforce the arbitration clause against a member.Legal effect of company's constitutional documents S33 CA06 states that the provisions of a company’s constitution bind the company and its members to the same extent as if there were covenants on the part of the company and of each member to observe those provisions. and the members between themselves. A member with more than 1. Hickman v Kent or Romney Marsh Sheep breeders’ Association (1920) Facts: The company’s articles included a clause to the effect that all disputes between the company and its members were to be referred to arbitration. 15 . Rayfield v Hands (1958) Facts: The articles required the directors to be members. The articles are in all respects enforceable by the company against its members.e. even if they do not sign them. i. Pender v Lushington (1877) Facts: The articles provided for one vote per ten shares. However. the articles do not bind the company to nonmembers. The chairman refused to accept the nominee’s votes. to hold qualification shares and to purchase shares from any member who wished to sell. with no member to have more than 100 votes. A member brought court proceedings against the company.

was in dispute with the company concerning his rights as director. The provision in the articles was merely evidence of that separate contract. ex parte Beckwith (1898) Facts: The articles stated that directors were entitled to be paid £1. The articles do not bind the members in any other capacity. Eley v Positive Government Security Life Assurance Co (1876) Facts: The articles provided that Eley should be solicitor to the company. such as a director or an accountant? Obviously the articles have no effect as a contract between the company 16 . Held: He was not bound by the arbitration clause since he was acting in his capacity as director. Held: This was not a right given to him as a member and he could not rely on the articles as a contract for professional services. However.Held: This was enforceable against the directors in their capacity as members. The right to be a director of a company has also been held to be an outsider right.000 on taking office. not a member. a member and director of the company. Is it as a member. However. Beattie v EF Beattie (1938) Facts: The company’s articles contained an arbitration clause. or in some other capacity. It is important in an examination question to check the capacity in which the person is claiming. Held: The contract was implied from the directors’ action in taking office. He brought court proceedings against the company. The articles also operate as a contract between individual members in their capacity as members. the articles do not bind the company to nonmembers. even where the articles are not a relevant contract for this purpose they may be evidence of another contract made independently. B. New British Iron Co.

occupation. 17 . The register of directors’ addresses should now contain service addresses rather than details of the directors’ residential addresses. Eley’s membership was irrelevant to his claim; as solicitor he had no claim – he was attempting to enforce a nonmember’s right. amount paid up. Minutes of general meetings. nationality. addresses. Name of chargee. Statutory books. Requests for inspection must provide details about the person seeking the information. Name. date became/ceased. The service address can be simply ‘the company’s registered office’. The company may apply to the court for an order that it need not comply with the request. number of shares. In Eley’s case above. amount and date created. Records must be kept for a minimum period of ten years. address. property charged. type of charge.and a person who is not a member even if they are named in them and given apparent rights against the company. Directors and company secretary Charges Other documents Resolutions and meetings The registers must normally be kept at the company’s registered office (although the register of members and register of directors’ interests can be kept where they are made up) and must be available for public inspection. the purpose of the request and whether the information will be disclosed to others. returns and records Registers Register Members Contents Names. type. other Directorships within the last five years and date of birth.

Both the service and the residential addresses will need to be supplied to the Registrar of Companies. Accounting records The company must keep accounting records containing sufficient information to show and explain the company’s transactions. In particular the records must show:  details of all money received and spent  a record of assets and liabilities  statement of stocks at end of year  statements of all goods sold and purchased. showing the goods and the buyers and sellers (except in the retail trade). However. The residential addresses will be withheld from the public register.The company must also keep a separate register of the directors’ residential addresses. Annual return The annual return must be filed with the Registrar annually within 28 days of the return date (which is the anniversary of incorporation). Annual financial statements Companies are required to produce annual financial statements including:  balance sheet and profit and loss account showing true and fair view 18 . they will generally remain available to the Registrar and certain specified public bodies and credit reference agencies. It contains the:  address of registered office  type of company  principal business activities  details of officers  details of issued shares and their holders  details of private company elections to dispense with holding AGMs/laying accounts.

It is a bundle of rights and obligations.directors’ report stating the amount of any dividend and likely future developments. A debenture is a creditor of the company and therefore has no 19 Voting rights Share capital A share is the interest of a shareholder in a company measured by a sum of money. A shareholder is a member (owner) of the company and therefore has voting .  Capital and financing Chapter learning objectives Upon completion of this chapter you will be able to:  examine the different meanings of capital  illustrate the difference between various classes of shares  explain the procedure for the variation of class rights  define companies’ borrowing powers  explain the meaning of debenture  distinguish loan capital from share capital  explain the concept of a company charge and distinguish between fixed and floating charges  describe the need and the procedure for registering company charges  explain the doctrine of capital maintenance and capital reduction  examine the effect of issuing shares at either a discount or a premium  explain the rules governing the distribution of dividends in both private and public companies. Types of capital Loan capital versus share capital Definition Loan capital A debenture is a document issued by a company containing an acknowledgment of its indebtedness. The annual financial statements must be approved and signed on behalf of the board of directors and a copy filed with Registrar.

 Rights issues 20 . depending on the class of shares held.voting rights. but cannot participate in surplus Shareholders receive repayment after creditors. Dividends depend on the availability of profits. usually cumulative Prior return of capital. but can participate in surplus assets Full Paid after preference dividend.  Do not raise any new funds. Income A debenture has a contractual right to interest. irrespective of the availability of profits. or restricted Fixed dividend paid in priority to other dividends. Liquidation Voting rights Dividend rights None. Not fixed. A debenture has priority with respect to repayment rights. Entitled to share surplus assets after repayment of preference shares. Surplus on winding up Bonus issues Carried out by using some of the company’s reserves to issue fully paid shares to existing shareholders in proportion to their shareholdings.

may ask the court to cancel the variation within 21 days of the passing of the resolution. and  a variation that changes the rights themselves. However. Minority protection Under s633 CA06.New shares offered to existing shareholders in proportion to their shareholdings. such as dividend rights. who did not consent to the variation. the holders of 15% of the nominal value of that class.) How can they be varied? The procedure for varying class rights depends on whether any procedure is specified in the articles: Is procedure to vary specified? Method of variation Yes Procedure set out in articles must be followed No Variation needs special resolution or written consent of 75% in nominal value of the class: s630 CA06.  The court will only intervene in the latter case. The court draws a distinction between: a variation that affects the value. The court may confirm or cancel the variation. (See above concerning the different rights that normally attach to ordinary shares and preference shares.  Class rights What are they? Class rights are the special rights attached to each class of shares. distribution of capital on a winding up and voting.  Raise new funds. enjoyment or power derived from the rights.  Shares usually offered at discount to current market value (but not at discount to nominal value). 21 . it will only cancel the variation if the petitioner proves it is unfairly prejudicial.

Greenhalgh v Arderne Cinemas Ltd (1950) The subdivision of shares is not a variation of class rights. The authority must state:  the maximum number of shares to be allotted  the expiry date for the authority (maximum five years).White v Bristol Aeroplane Co (1953) Bonus issue is not a variation of class rights.) Issue at premium S610 CA06 requires any premium to be credited to a share premium account. Issue at discount Shares cannot be issued at a discount on their nominal value: s580 CA06. (Debentures can be issued at a discount if they do not have the immediate right to convert to shares. but the allottee must pay up the discount plus interest. This may be given:  by the articles. even though its effect may be to dilute the voting rights of the existing shareholders. which may only be used for:  writing off the expenses of the issue of those shares  writing off any commission paid on the issue of those shares  issuing bonus shares. Issuing shares Authority The directors need authority in order to allot shares. 22 . If this rule is breached the issue is still valid. The directors of a private company with only one class of shares may allot shares of that class unless it is prohibited by the articles: s550 CA06. or  by passing an ordinary resolution.

 Disadvantages of debentures 23 .Paying for shares – private companies Private companies may issue shares for noncash consideration. s585 Payment for shares must not be in the form of work or services. The court will interfere with the valuation only if there is fraud or the consideration is 'illusory. s587 Noncash consideration must be received within five years. All trading companies have the implied power to borrow for the purpose of business.  As debentures carry no votes they do not dilute or affect the control of the company. Paying for shares public companies There are a number of additional rules relating to the issue of shares in public companies contained in CA06: s584 Subscribers to the memorandum must pay cash for their subscription shares. Advantages of debentures The board does not (usually) need the authority of a general meeting to issue debentures.  Interest is chargeable against the profit before tax.  Debentures may be cheaper to service than shares.  There are no restrictions on issuing debentures at a discount or on redemption. past or patently inadequate'. s586 Shares cannot be allotted until at least one quarter of their nominal value and the whole of any premium have been paid. Debentures A debenture is a document issued by a company containing an acknowledgment of its indebtedness whether charged on the company’s assets or not. s593 Noncash consideration must be independently valued and reported on by a person qualified to be the company’s auditor.

land).  High gearing will affect the share price. A fixed charge has three main characteristics:  It is on an identified asset. which prevents the company dealing with the asset without the consent of the mortgagee. Floating charge The judge in Re Yorkshire Woolcombers’ Assocation (1903) stated that a floating charge has three main characteristics:  It is on a class of assets.g. Crystallisation A floating charge does not attach to any particular asset until crystallisation. sell) the asset.Interest must be paid out of pretax profits.  Fixed versus floating charges Fixed charge A fixed charge is a legal or equitable mortgage on a specific asset (e. present and future. It occurs in the following cases:  liquidation  the company ceases to carry on business  any event specified (e.  The asset is intended to be retained permanently in the business.  The assets within the class will change from time to time. A floating charge cannot be created by a partnership. the company is unable to pay its debts; the company fails to look after its property; the company fails to keep stock levels sufficiently high).g.  The company has no general freedom to deal with (e. irrespective of the profits of the company. Crystallisation means the company can no longer deal freely with the assets.  Default may precipitate liquidation and/or administration if the debentures are secured.g. Advantages of a floating charge 24 .  The company has freedom to deal with the charged assets in the ordinary course of its business.

Priority and registration of charges Priority The priority of a charge depends on the type of charge and whether or not it has been registered:  Equal charges – first created has priority. but the prohibition is only effective if a subsequent chargee has notice of the prohibition as well as the charge.  Fixed charge – has priority over a floating charge.  It has a lower priority than a fixed charge. Disadvantages of a floating charge A floating charge has a number of disadvantages for the chargee:  The value of the security is uncertain until it crystallises. Registration can be undertaken by:  the company  the chargeholder.A floating charge has the following advantages for the company:  The company can deal freely with the assets. Registration The company must notify the registrar within 21 days of the creation of the charge. Failure to register:  renders the charge void against the liquidator 25 .  An unregistered registerable charge has no priority over a registered charge.  A liquidator can ignore it if it was created within 12 months of winding up (see below).  A charge holder can prohibit the creation of a later charge with priority.  A wider class of assets can be charged.

 results in a fine on the company and every officer in default  renders the money secured immediately repayable. The company must also include the charge in its own register of charges. However, failure to include the charge in the company’s own register does not invalidate the charge. Capital maintenance Purpose The capital of a limited company is regarded as a buffer fund for creditors. (Note that the creditors’ buffer is an accounting fund, not real money. The actual cash or assets subscribed can be used by the company.) The rules on maintenance of capital exist in order to prevent a company reducing its capital by returning it to its members, whether directly or indirectly. This means that, as a general rule, a limited company cannot reduce its share capital or purchase its own shares. There are, however, some exceptions to this general rule and these are covered a little later. Loan capital is not subject to maintenance. Reduction of capital Under s641 CA06, a company can reduce its capital at any time, for any reason. Reduce or cancel liabilities on partly paid shares, i.e. the company gives up any claim for money owing. Return capital in excess of the company's needs, i.e. the company reduces its assets by repaying cash to its shareholders. Cancel the paid up capital that is no longer represented by the assets, i.e. if the company has a debit balance on reserves it can write this off by reducing capital and thereby does not need to make good past losses. Procedure  pass a special resolution  apply to court to confirm the special resolution
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 if application involves one of the two methods above, court must require company to settle a list of creditors entitled to object

the court must not confirm the reduction until it is satisfied that all creditors have either consented to the reduction or had their debts discharged or secured

 the company must file documents with the registrar If the share capital of a public company falls below 50,000, it must register as a private company. Simplified procedure for private companies:  pass a special statement resolution supported by a solvency

 the solvency statement is a statement by each of the directors that the company will be able to meet its debts within the following year  a solvency statement made without reasonable grounds is an offence punishable by fine and/or imprisonment  copies of resolution/solvency statement and a statement of capital must be filed with the Registrar within 15 days. Purchase of own shares A company may purchase its own shares if the relevant procedures are complied with.  Procedure:  The articles must authorise the purchase.  The shares to be purchased must be fully paid.  The purchased shares must be cancelled.  The company must make a return to the Registrar within one month, accompanied by a revised statement of capital. Finance for purchase:  Distributable profits – A transfer equivalent to the nominal value of the purchased shares must be made to the capital
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redemption reserve. (This is a nondistributable reserve, used only for bonus issues).  Proceeds of new issue.  Private companies may make a permissible capital payment, but only to the extent that the distributable profits and the proceeds of any new issue are insufficient (see below for further details). There are two types of purchase: Market purchase = purchase on the stock exchange • An ordinary resolution is required stating the maximum number of shares and the maximum and minimum prices. • The authority to purchase lasts for a specified time – the maximum is 18 months. Off-market purchase = purchase directly from a shareholder • A special resolution is required. • A contract of sale must be available for inspection by members for at least 15 days before the meeting and at the meeting. • Vendors may not vote on the resolution with the shares which are to be purchased.

Permissible capital payment – private companies only Private companies can purchase shares out of capital, subject to any restriction or prohibition in their articles. The following formalities must be complied with:  The directors must make a statutory declaration stating that the company will be able its debts as they fall due over the next year.  The Auditors must make a statement supporting the directors’ declaration.  A copy of the directors and the auditor’s report must be available to members before the resolution approving the payment is passed, otherwise it will be ineffective.  A special resolution must be passed within one week of the directors’ statement.
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revaluation reserve)  reserves that the company is forbidden to distribute.g. not just one year in isolation. distributable profits. 29 . inviting creditors to apply to the courts to prevent the payment within five weeks if they object. i. The latest audited accounts are used to make the calculations. Additional rules for a public company A public limited company can only declare a dividend if both before and after distribution its net assets are not less than the aggregate of its called up share capital and undistributable reserves.  The documents must be filed with the Registrar.  Accumulated – overall profit/loss.e.  Realised – not revaluation reserve.e.g. pay a dividend) out of profits available for that purpose. A public notice (in the gazette) must be made within one week of the resolution. Distributions Introduction A company can only make a distribution (e. Distributable profits Distributable profits are the accumulated realised profits (so far as not previously utilised by distribution or capitalisation) less the accumulated realised losses (so far as not previously written off in a reduction of capital): s830 CA06.  The payment out of capital must be made between five and seven weeks following the resolution. Undistributable reserves are:  share premium account  capital redemption reserve  unrealised profits (i.  Profit/loss – trading or capital. depreciation) are deemed realised. However. provisions (e.

the directors recommend the payment of a dividend and the company declares it by passing an ordinary resolution. by whatever name called’: s250 CA06.Model articles Under the model articles. The amount paid cannot exceed the amount recommended by the directors. In addition. a director must normally be aged at least 16. • The MD has a dual role – member of board and also executive officer. can lose their office or be subject to a disqualification order  distinguish between the powers of the board of directors. Directors Definition of director The term ‘director’ includes ‘any person occupying the position of director. Directors Chapter learning objectives Upon completion of this chapter you will be able to:  explain the role of directors in the operation of the company  discuss the ways in which the directors are appointed. The decision as to whether someone is a director is therefore based on their function. Types of director Managing director (MD) • The model articles allow the board to delegate to the MD any powers they see fit. not their title. There must be at least one director who is a ‘natural person’. the managing director and individual directors to bind the company  explain the duties that directors owe to their companies  demonstrate an understanding of the way in which statute law has attempted to control directors. • Freeman & Lockyer (A Firm) v Buckhurst Park Properties 30 .

• Parttime. • Maximum – no statutory maximum. • Acts as spokesman for the company. • Exerts control over executive directors. • ‘A person in accordance with whose directions or instructions the directors of a company are accustomed to act’: s251 CA06. • Not a shadow director if advice is given only in a professional capacity. • Likely to be a fulltime employee involved in management. • Usually appointed by the existing directors or by ordinary resolution. • Directors of public companies should generally be 31 Appointment procedure . but the articles may specify a maximum number. Appointment.Shadow director Executive director Nonexecutive director (NED) Chairman of board (Mangal) Ltd (1964) – the MD has the apparent authority to enter into all contracts of a commercial nature. • Brings outside expertise to board. • Not an employee. • Chairs meetings of board. removal and disqualification Appointment Numbers • Minimum: public companies need two; private companies need one.

• The company must notify Companies House within 14 days of new appointments and any changes in particulars. It must also enter details in the register of directors. • Gratuitous payments must be disclosed to all members and approved by ordinary resolution. • Must be kept open for inspection at the registered office. • A director’s actions are valid notwithstanding that his appointment was defective: s161 CA06. • Casual vacancies are filled by the board until the next AGM when the new directors must stand for election. • At the first annual general meeting (AGM) all the directors retire and offer themselves for re-election by ordinary resolution. If not approved. They can be reelected. director holds payment on constructive trust for the company.Model articles for public companies Publicity Service contracts Compensation for loss of office voted on individually: s160 CA06. • Cannot exceed two years unless they have been approved by the shareholders by ordinary resolution: s188 CA06. 32 . • At each AGM one third of NEDs retire (those most senior).

g.  Fraudulent or wrongful trading (maximum 15 years' disqualification). Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (formerly the Department of Trade and Industry) finds the director unfit to be concerned in the management of a company (maximum 15 years' disqualification).  Breach of a disqualification order:  This is a criminal offence.  Conviction of a serious offence in connection with the management of a company (maximum 15 years' disqualification). and maximum 15 years'.  An investigation by the Department for Business. failure to file returns (maximum five years' disqualification). which could result in a fine and imprisonment.Disqualification Model articles – Directors must vacate their office if they become bankrupt. 33 .  The disqualified director (or any person who acts on his instructions) is personally liable for the debts of the company while so acting. or absent from board meetings for six months and the board so resolves.  Liquidator’s report finds the director unfit to be concerned in the management of a company (minimum 2 years'. insane. disqualification). A disqualified director cannot be concerned in the management of a company directly or indirectly or act as a liquidator. e. receiver or promoter. Grounds for disqualification: Persistent breaches of CA06. Company Directors (Disqualification) Act 1986 (CDDA 1986) The CDDA 1986 was introduced to prevent the misuse of the limited liability status of companies by directors who would set up a new company to carry on essentially the same business as an old company which had ceased trading with unpaid debts.

although he can sue for damages if the removal is in breach of his contract. or  any agreement between him and it. Statute only required an ordinary resolution and made no provision as to how it could be obtained or defeated. An ordinary resolution is required to remove a director. The director must be allowed to attend the meeting and to speak.  Notice of the meeting goes to the director and all members entitled to attend and vote.Removal Under s168 CA06. Thus a director can be removed despite any provision to the contrary in his service contract. 34 . The power of the members to remove a director may be limited: Bushell v Faith (1970) Facts: A provision in the articles tripled the number of votes of shares held by directors on a resolution to remove them. The company must follow this procedure to remove a director:  Special notice (28 days) is required of the resolution by persons wishing to remove a director. Held: The weighted voting rights provided in the articles were valid.  The director concerned can require the company to circulate written representations to members.  At the meeting the director can read out representations if there was no time for prior circulation. a company may by ordinary resolution remove a director before expiration of his period of office notwithstanding anything in:  its articles. The company must forward a copy of the resolution to the director concerned.

Duty to act within powers: s171 A director must act in accordance with the company’s constitution and only use his powers for the purpose which they were given. The Act requires the directors to have regard to:  the likely consequences of any decision in the long term  the interests of the company’s employees   the need to foster the company’s business relationships with suppliers. If this rule is not adhered to the transaction will be void. However. However. customers and others the impact of the company’s operations on the community and the environment 35 . Duty to promote the success of the company: s172 A director must act in good faith. Held: The directors were in breach of the duty to act within their powers.Duties General duties Prior to the Companies Act 2006. Hogg v Cramphorn (1967) Facts: The directors issued further shares and gave financial assistance for their purchase in an attempt to fight off a takeover bid. common law rules and ‘equitable principles’ made up the law on directors’ duties. believing it to be in the best interests of the company. in a way which promotes the success of the company and for the benefit of the members as a whole. the old case law still has relevance in interpreting the new legislation and illustrating its application: s170. it was open to the members to ratify their actions. which they did. These have now been replaced by the specific statutory duties provided in the Companies Act 2006. unless it is approved by the shareholders.

Parsons. This duty is not infringed by a director acting: in accordance with an agreement duly entered into by the company that restricts the future exercise of discretion by its directors. In addition to establishing the degree of care and skill required by a director. skill and experience that could reasonably be expected of a director. Parsons and Hamilton did. Stebbing loaned the company’s money without complying with statutory regulations applying to money lending. as an accountant) he is expected to use it for the benefit of the company.  Duty to exercise reasonable care. Held: All three were liable in negligence. turn up from time to time and signed blank cheques on the company’s account which they left Stebbing to deal with. If a director has a special skill (e. skill and diligence: s174 The standard expected of a director is that of a reasonably diligent person with: the general knowledge.  Duty to exercise independent judgment: s173 A director of a company must exercise independent judgment. the case of Re City Equitable Fire Insurance (1925) also established that: 36 . skill and experience held by the director. Hamilton and Stebbing. All three had considerable accountancy and business experience (Parsons and Hamilton were chartered accountants). however.the desirability of the company maintaining a reputation for high standards of business conduct. No board meetings were ever held and Parsons and Hamilton left all the affairs of the company to Stebbing.g. and  the actual knowledge.  Dorchester Finance Co Ltd v Stebbing (1989) Facts: The company was a money lending company and had three directors. and  the need to act fairly as between members of the company. or  in a way authorised by the company’s constitution. such that the loans were unenforceable.

they should attend board meetings whenever able to do so. Facts: Cooley. Duty to avoid conflicts of interest: s175 A director must avoid any situation which places him in direct conflict with the interests of the company or the performance of any other duty. provided the articles:  do not invalidate the authorisation (in the case of a private company). or  expressly allow the authorisation (in the case of a public company). the managing director of IDC. or  expressly allow the authorisation (in the case of a public company). IDC v Cooley (1972)  Directors are not bound to give continuous attention to the affairs of their company. However.  In the absence of suspicious circumstances. However.  In the absence of suspicious circumstances. Duty to declare interest in proposed transaction or arrangement: s177 A director must declare the extent and nature of such an interest to the other directors. had been negotiating a contract on behalf of the company.Directors are not bound to give continuous attention to the affairs of their company. they should attend board meetings whenever able to do so.  do not invalidate the authorisation (in the case of a private company). This declaration can be made in writing. unless acceptance cannot reasonably be regarded as likely to give rise to a conflict of interest. but the third 37 . directors may rely on employees to perform the functions that may properly be delegated.  The relevant director does not count towards a quorum and his votes are not included in determining whether authorisation has been given. directors may rely on employees to perform the functions that may properly be delegated. at a board meeting or by a general notice that he has an interest in a third party. This duty is not infringed if the matter has been authorised by the directors. Duty not to accept benefits from third parties: s176 A director must not accept any benefit from a third party which arises by reason of him being a director or performing/not performing an act as a director.

 Contracts entered into between the company and the director may be rendered voidable. unless that third party acquired it for value and in good faith. The IDC case illustrates that an individual may still be subject to the duties even after he ceases to be a director. Without disclosing his reason to the company (or its board) he resigned in order to take the contract personally. This has traditionally been taken to mean to the shareholders as a collective body. Breach of directors’ duties Directors owe their duties to the company as a whole. Powers The division of power within a company The legal theory is that all decisions about the running of the company’s business should be taken by the members in general meeting.party wished to award the contract to him personally and not to the company. S232 CA06 provides that any provision to exempt a director from or indemnify him against any liability for breach of duty or negligence is void.  An injunction may be an appropriate remedy where the breach has not yet occurred. Breach of duty may carry the following consequences:  The director may be required to make good any loss suffered by the company.  Any property taken by the director from the company can be recovered from him if still in his possession. which includes present and future shareholders. the members usually delegate the power to manage the business to the directors and they exercise all the powers of the company on a day today basis. Held: He was in breach of fiduciary duty as he had profited personally by use of an opportunity which came to him through his directorship: it made no difference that the company itself would not have obtained the contract.  Property may be recovered directly from a third party. However. He was therefore accountable to the company for the benefits gained from the contract. Directors are required to 38 . S239 CA06 states that the company can ratify a breach of duty by passing an ordinary resolution. The directors owe no general duty to individual members: Percival v Wright (1902).

There are some restrictions which mean that power is placed in the hands of the members rather than the directors:  some actions require a special resolution  a director can be removed at any time by an ordinary resolution of the members and they may see fit to exercise this right should their views be ignored  the members can alter the articles by passing a special resolution. Note that the power to manage the business of the company is given to the board as a whole. • The person appointed as the managing director has the implied authority to bind the company in the same way as the board. not to the individual directors. Where a company’s articles delegate the management of the company’s business to the board. which had the effect of severely restricting the directors’ powers. the members have no right to interfere in decisions made by the board. In Shaw v John Shaw (1935) it was held that it was for the board to decide whether or not the company should commence litigation and therefore an ordinary resolution instructing the board to discontinue litigation had no legal effect. Directors are not agents of the members and are not subject to their instruction as to how to act. Companies now have unrestricted objects. This power could therefore be used to restrict the directors’ powers. This requirement caused problems prior to the Companies Act 2006 as companies normally had very narrow objects. Authority of directors Individual directors cannot bind the company without being given authority to do so. There are three ways in which this authority may be given: Express • Where authority is expressly given. unless the articles specifically restrict them.exercise their powers in accordance with the company’s constitution. Implied • Authority flows from a person’s position. • The managing director is 39 . all decisions taken are binding.

is then liable to compensate the company for any profit made or to indemnify the company for any loss or damage arising. S40 goes on to state that even where there is actual knowledge of the lack of authority this is not enough to count as lack of good faith so. the transaction becomes voidable at the company’s instance: s41 CA06. provided the other party is acting in good faith. the third party director or associate. Transactions beyond the board’s powers S40 CA06 states that the power of the directors to bind the company. however. ≥ 5% voting rights Can force the inclusion of a resolution on the agenda of the AGM. They are not required to act for the benefit of the company. a company is ultimately controlled by its members. Minority shareholders who are unhappy with a decision have the following remedies: Any member Can apply to the court to prohibit a payment out of capital by a private company. ≥ 10% voting rights Can require the directors to 40 . on the face of it. The control of directors Although the directors manage the company on a day today basis. and any director who authorised the transaction. here. Moreover. any contract entered into by the board of a company will be binding. Most decisions require a majority of over 50% (although some require 75%); therefore shareholders who are in the minority may find that their wishes are ignored.Apparent/ Ostensible assumed to have all powers usually exercised by a managing director. will not be limited by anything in the company’s constitution. Members can exercise their votes in their own interests. or to authorise another to bind the company. the third party to the transaction is also a director of the company or a person associated with a director. • Such authority arises where a director is held out by the other board members as having the authority to bind the company. whether the company chooses to avoid the contract or not.

alter articles. and written.≥ 15% voting rights of class rights. For example. the company auditors  distinguish between types of meetings: ordinary general meetings and annual general meetings  explain the procedure for calling such meetings  detail the procedure for conducting company meetings  distinguish between types of resolutions: ordinary. substantial property transactions: s190 CA06. Can apply to the court to cancel a variation Can defeat a special resolution to alter name. Company secretary Introduction 41 . A substantial property transaction occurs where a director acquires from the company (or vice versa) a substantial noncash asset. reduce share capital or wind up company. a company secretary  discuss the procedure relating to. An asset is ‘substantial’ if its value either exceeds £100. and the duties and powers of. special. Failure to obtain the members’ approval results in the following consequences:  the transaction is voidable by the company. and the duties and powers of. ≥ 25% voting rights call a GM. Corporate administration Chapter learning objectives Upon completion of this chapter you will be able to:  discuss the procedure relating to.000 or exceeds 10% of the company’s asset value and is more than £5. Certain matters require the approval of the members in a general meeting in order to be valid.000. unless the members give approval within a reasonable period  the director is liable to account to the company for any gain or indemnify it against any loss.

42 . Powers The company secretary has the authority to bind the company in contract. CIPFA. therefore the duties will be whatever the board decides. The company secretary will typically undertake the following:  check that documentation is in order  make returns to the Registrar  keep registers  give notice and keep minutes of meetings  countersign documents to which the company seal is affixed. The secretary is usually appointed and removed by the directors.  They must be a solicitor. use. ICSA.  They must appear to be capable of discharging the functions by virtue of another position or qualification. There are two types of authority:  actual authority – this is the authority delegated by the board  apparent authority regarding contracts of an administrative nature. not the company’s. It was held that the contract was binding on the company as the contract was of the sort that a company secretary should be able to carry out. barrister or member of ICAEW. but are not obliged to do so. Panorama Developments (Guildford) v Fidelis Furnishing Fabrics (1971) The company secretary ordered services for his own. Duties There are no statutory duties. ACCA. Qualifications The secretary of a public company must be qualified under one of the following conditions:  They must have held the office of company secretary in a public limited company (plc) for at least three out of the preceding five years.Every public company must have a qualified company secretary. Private companies may choose to appoint a secretary. CIMA.

ICAS or ACCA) and eligible under their rules.‘He is no longer a mere clerk…He is entitled to sign contracts connected with the administrative side of a company’s affairs.  It does not extend to making commercial as opposed to administrative contracts: Re Maidstone Building Provisions (1971). However. An auditor’s term of office will usually run from the end of the 28day period following circulation of the accounts until the end of the corresponding period the following year. or qualified by a similar overseas body and authorised by the Department for Business. Enterprise and Regulatory Reform.’ However. An auditor will automatically be deemed to be reappointed at the end of his term unless:  he was appointed by the directors 43 . two other cases indicate that there is a limit to the company secretary’s authority:  actual authority – this is the authority delegated by the board  apparent authority regarding contracts of an administrative nature. The auditor must not be:  an officer or employee of the company  the partner of an officer or employee of the company. Appointment Private companies The auditors should generally be appointed by the shareholders by ordinary resolution. the directors can appoint the company’s first auditor and fill casual vacancies.  It does not usually carry the authority to borrow money: Re Cleadon Trust Ltd (1938). and so forth. The auditor Qualifications The auditor must be either:   a member of recognised supervisory body (ICAEW. and ordering cars. such as employing staff.

Where there is a change of auditor. The directors have 21 days to send out a notice 44 . The Secretary of State has power to appoint an auditor in those circumstances. A company whose auditor resigns is required to inform the Registrar: s517 CA06. An auditor of a public company holds office until the end of the meeting at which the accounts are laid. Appointment – public companies Auditors are generally appointed by the shareholders by ordinary resolution in the general meeting at which the company’s accounts are laid. However. Under s518 CA06. unless reappointed. A company must inform the Secretary of State if it has failed to appoint an auditor within 28 days of circulating its accounts. the company’s articles require actual reappointment  members with at least 5% of the voting rights have given notice to the company by the end of the company’s financial year  there has been a resolution that the auditor should not be reappointed or  the directors decide that they do not need auditors for the following year. The Secretary of State has power to appoint an auditor in those circumstances. Failure to do so is an offence. the term of office of the incoming auditor does not begin before the end of the previous auditor’s term.6 below). Resignation An auditor can resign at any time by giving written notice to the company: s516 CA06. The resignation is effective from the date it is delivered to the company’s registered office. the directors can appoint the company’s first auditor and fill casual vacancies. To be effective it must be accompanied by the statement required by s519 CA06 (see section 2. A company must inform the Secretary of State if it fails to appoint an auditor at the general meeting considering the accounts. or from a specified later date. an auditor who resigns can require the directors to convene a general meeting to consider his explanation of the circumstances that led to his resignation. This means that a new auditor’s term will usually begin immediately after the end of the meeting at which the accounts are laid.

the statement should accompany the resignation letter. For other public companies and all private companies.convening a meeting and it must be held within 28 days of the notice.e. the statement can be read out at the meeting. the 45     . the statement should be deposited no more than 14 days after the date on which he stops being the auditor. However. if time does not allow for circulation. Removal An auditor can be removed by ordinary resolution: s510 CA06. Unless there are no circumstances to be brought to the attention of shareholders and creditors. Special notice of the resolution is needed (i. The company then has to circulate his statement to the shareholders. The resolution must be passed at a general meeting; a written resolution cannot be used to remove an auditor. a departing auditor is required to make a statement and to deposit it with the company:  For quoted companies. the statement should state that there are no such circumstances. In any other case. the statement should be deposited at least 14 days before the end of the time allowed for appointing the next auditor. unless the auditor thinks that there is no need for them to be brought to the attention of the shareholders or creditors. 28 days). In that case. The deadline for depositing the statement with the company depends on the circumstances surrounding the auditor’s departure: If the auditor is resigning. The company must send a copy of the resolution to the auditor and he has the right to make a statement of his case. Statement by departing auditor Under s519 CA06. If the auditor is deciding not to seek reappointment. this statement must explain the circumstances surrounding his departure. it should explain the circumstances surrounding his departure. Notice of the resolution removing the auditor must be sent to the Registrar within 14 days.

The report (whether qualified or unqualified) must state the name of the audit firm. If the auditor is dissatisfied with the findings of his investigation he must qualify the audit report. and have been properly prepared in accordance with the Companies Act and the relevant financial reporting framework. it can apply to the court for an order that it need not circulate the statement. The offence carries an unlimited fine. attend and speak at general meetings  access the books at all times 46 .  Powers The auditor has the right to:  receive notice of. or if an individual has been appointed as auditor. or to omit a required statement of a problem with the accounts or audit. his name.company is obliged to circulate the statement to everyone to whom it needs to send the annual accounts. false or deceptive. If the company does not want to circulate the statement. the senior statutory auditor must sign the report in his own name on behalf of the firm. Under s507 CA06 it is a criminal offence to knowingly or recklessly cause an audit report to include anything that is misleading. Where the auditor is a firm. The auditor must investigate and form an opinion as to whether:  proper books of accounting records have been kept  proper returns adequate for their audit have been received from branches not visited by them  the accounts are in agreement with the books of account and returns  the information given in the directors’ report is consistent with the accounts. Duties The auditor has a statutory duty to report to the members on whether the accounts:  give a true and fair view. It must do this within 14 days of receiving it.

Any member can apply to the Department for Business. Private companies are not required to hold an AGM. • Members holding at least 5% of the voting rights (or at least 100 members holding on average £100 paidup capital) have the right to propose a resolution for the AGM agenda and to require 47 Failure to hold Private companies Notice Business Resolutions . 21 days’ notice is required unless every member entitled to attend and vote agrees to a shorter period. MEETINGS Annual general meeting (AGM) Timing Public companies must hold an AGM within the six months following their financial year end: s336. require such information and explanations from the company’s officers and employees as the auditor thinks fit for the performance of his duties (it is a criminal offence to fail to provide the information requested. The company and every officer in default can be fined if an AGM is not held. Usual business includes: • consider accounts • appoint auditors • elect directors • declare dividends. Enterprise and Regulatory Reform to convene the meeting. unless it was not reasonably practicable to do so). The notice must state that the meeting is an AGM.

the members are not required to cover the costs of circulation. Must be held by a plc if a serious loss of capital has occurred. Two persons holding or representing by proxy at least one third in nominal value of the issued shares of the class in question. Notice Business Class meetings Purpose Meeting of a class of shareholders. Procedure Quorum Calling a meeting Who can call a meeting? 48 . The person who requisitions the meeting sets the agenda. Notice. net assets have fallen to less than half of the called up share capital. etc. as for general meetings.e. i. • If the members’ request is received before the financial year end. At least 14 days.the company to circulate details of the resolution to all members. Otherwise. General meetings (GM) Timing Held whenever required. the members requesting the resolution must deposit a sum to cover the company’s costs. usually to consider a variation of their class rights.

The directors must call a meeting within 21 days of receiving a requisition. Members may require the directors to call a GM if they hold: • at least 10% of the paid up voting capital. Notice Who must receive notice? Every member and every director: 49 .g. the members who requested the meeting (or any members holding over 50% of the total voting rights) may themselves call a meeting to take place within three months of the initial request and recover their expenses from the company. A court can call a meeting on the application of a director or member where it would otherwise be impracticable. If the directors do not call a meeting. 5% of the paid up voting capital if more than 12 months has elapsed since the last GM: s303. The meeting must take place within 28 days of the notice convening the meeting. or • in the case of a private company.Directors Members Resigning auditor Court The articles usually delegate the power to the directors. A resigning auditor may require the directors to convene a meeting so he can explain the reasons for his resignation. to break a deadlock. e.

Failure to give notice Contents of notice Length of notice period Special notice s310. The general nature of the business to be transacted. They are voted on by the members in person or by proxy. Accidental failure to give notice to one or more persons does not invalidate the meeting: s313.) Requires 28 days’ notice. Required for the removal of a director or auditor. • Reduce share capital. Used whenever the law or the articles do not require a Ordinary >50% Only if required by statute 50 . can be reduced to 90%. (Where company is private. GM – 14 days Less if members holding at least 95% of shares agree. Resolutions Resolutions are the way in which companies take decisions. AGM – 21 days Less if every member entitled to attend and vote agrees. There are three types of resolution: Type % required To Registrar? Purpose of to pass resolution Special ≥75% Yes – within 15 days • Alter name. time and place of the meeting. Date. • Wind up company. The text of any special resolutions. • Alter articles.

Quoted companies must publish the results of polls on their website: s341 CA06. Voting is by a show of hands initially.Written (private companies only) Same majority as required in GM Yes if a 75% majority is required special resolution. irrespective of the number of shares held. unless a poll is demanded. A poll means one vote per share. The result of a poll replaces the result of the previous show of hands. Procedure at meetings A quorum is the minimum number of members that needs to be present at a meeting in order to validate business. Members cannot revoke their agreement. The purpose can be anything apart from resolutions requiring special notice. Members have a statutory right under s324 CA06 to appoint one or more persons as their ‘ 51 . It is generally two persons: members or proxies: s318 CA06. The date of the resolution is the date when the necessary majority has been reached. A poll may be demanded by members holding at least 10% of the total voting rights (or by not fewer than 5 members having the right to vote on the resolution). A show of hands means one member one vote. The resolution must be passed within 28 days from its circulation.

vote and speak on behalf of the member for whom he is acting.proxy ’. Voluntary liquidation: s84 Insolvency Act (IA 1986) Introduction If a company finds itself in financial difficulty. This winds up the company. the two main options available to it are:   Administration. A voluntary liquidation occurs where the members pass a resolution to go into liquidation. A proxy can attend meetings. The steps involved in a members’ voluntary winding up are as follows: 52 . Liquidation.  A special resolution must be passed if the company is being wound up for any other reason. Insolvency Chapter learning objectives Upon completion of this chapter you will be able to:  explain the meaning of and the procedure involved in voluntary liquidation  explain the meaning of and the procedure involved in compulsory liquidation  explain administration as an alternative to winding up. There are two types of voluntary liquidation:  A members' voluntary liquidation is used where the company is solvent. The type of resolution needed depends on the circumstances:  Where the period fixed for the duration of the company expires or an event occurs upon which the articles provide that a company should be wound up. Members' voluntary winding up. This aims to rescue the company so that it may continue trading as a going concern. thus bringing its life to an end. an ordinary resolution must be passed.  A creditors' voluntary liquidation is used where the company is insolvent.

 The liquidator presents his report to the final meetings of members and reditors.  The Registrar registers the report and the company is dissolved three months later. A meeting of creditors must be held within 14 days of the resolution to liquidate.  Both the members and the creditors have the right to appoint a namedinsolvency practitioner as liquidator. It is a criminal offence to make a false declaration. The directors must submit a statement of the company’s affairs.  The liquidator presents his report to a final meeting of the members.  The liquidator informs the registrar of the final meeting and submits a copy of his report.  The members appoint a named insolvency practitioner as liquidator. Winding up commences from the passing of the appropriate resolution.  The liquidator informs the Registrar of the final meeting(s) and submits a copy of his report.  There is no declaration of solvency as the company is insolvent.  The liquidator is responsible for realising the assets and distributing the proceeds. Converting a members' voluntary liquidation into a creditors' voluntary liquidation 53 .  The liquidator is responsible for realising the assets and distributing the proceeds.  The registrar registers the report and the company is dissolved three months later. The members and creditors may appoint up to five persons to serve on a liquidation committee.  The directors make a declaration of solvency stating that they are of the opinion that the company will be able to pay its debts within 12 months. Creditors' voluntary winding up The steps involved in a creditors’ voluntary winding up are as follows:  Winding up commences on the passing of the appropriate resolution. In the event of a dispute. the creditors’ nominee prevails.

Enterprise and Regulatory Reform  a contributory. This is any person who is liable to contribute to the assets of the company when it is being wound up. However.  A public company has not been issued with a trading certificate within a year of incorporation. the court will not make an order under this ground if some other more reasonable remedy is available.If the liquidator discovers that the company’s debts will not be paid in full within the time specified in the declaration of solvency. The possible grounds for the petition are set out in s122 IA 1986:  The company has passed a special resolution to be wound up by the court. This is done by convening a meeting of the company’s creditors. Compulsory liquidation Grounds for winding up: s122 IA 1986 A compulsory winding up commences when a petition for a winding up order is presented to the court.  The company is unable to pay its debts. At the meeting the liquidator must:  lay before the creditors a statement of affairs  invite the creditors to appoint a different insolvency practitioner as liquidator  invite the creditors to appoint a liquidation committee.  It is just and equitable to wind up the company. (The contributory must prove hat the company is solvent) 54 . he must convert the members’ voluntary liquidation into a creditors’ voluntary liquidation. Petitioners The following persons may petition the court for a compulsory liquidation:  the company itself  the Official Receiver  the Department for Business. A company is deemed to be unable to pay its debts where a creditor who is owed at least £750 has served a written demand for payment and the company has failed topay the sum due within three weeks.  The company has not commenced business within a year of being incorporated or has suspended its business for over a year.

 The company ceases to carry on business except where it is necessary to complete the winding up. to complete working progress. Subsequent procedures On the making of the windingup order. the Official Receiver will summon meetings of the creditors and contributories in order to appoint a licensed insolvency practitioner to take over the job of liquidator and to appoint a liquidation committee.  Any floating charges crystallise. although the directors remain in office.  The powers of the directors cease. Effect of winding up The winding up petition has the following effects:  All actions for the recovery of debt against the company are stopped.g. e. Within three months. The liquidator presents his report to final meetings of the members and creditors.  Any legal proceedings against the company are halted. the Official Receiver becomes liquidator. Application of assets The liquidator must repay debts in the following order:  fixed chargeholders  preferential creditors – wages or salaries due in the four months preceding the commencement of winding up (maximum £800 per employee) 55 . and none may start unless leave is granted from the court. a creditor who is owed at least £750. but the liquidator can reemploy them to help him complete the winding up.  The employees are automatically made redundant. The Registrar registers the report and the company is dissolved three months later. The liquidator is responsible for realising the assets and distributing the proceeds. The liquidator informs the Registrar of the final meeting(s) and submits a copy of his report.

and 56 . Administration Purpose Administration involves the appointment of an insolvency practitioner.g. e. Who can appoint an administrator? An administrator can be appointed by any of the following persons:  the court in response to a petition by.– all accrued holiday pay. to manage the affairs. The court will only agree to appoint an administrator if it is satisfied that:  the company is or is likely to become unable to pay its debts. but has subsequently been amended by the Enterprise Act 2002. Administration is often used as an alternative to putting a company into liquidation.g. to:  rescue a company in financial difficulty with the aim of allowing it to continue as a going concern  achieve a better result for the creditors than would be likely if the company were to be wound up  realise property to pay one or more secured or preferential creditors.  floating charge holders  unsecured creditors – rank equally amongst themselves  post liquidation interest  members – declared but unpaid dividends  members – return of capital (in accordance with class rights)  any surplus to be distributed to members. All preferential creditors rank equally amongst themselves. business and property of a company. e. a creditor. the directors or the company itself  the holder of a qualifying floating charge over the company's assets  the company or its directors provided that winding up has not already begun. Note that expenses are to be paid out of the fund to which they relate – Buchler v Talbot (2004). known as an administrator. It was first introduced by Schedule 16 IA 1986.

However. that employee is made redundant. including the power to bring and defend legal proceedings. the administration order is likely to achieve its objectives. but their powers are suspended.  If the meeting does not approve the proposals. the administrator can carry them out. Carrying out the administration The administrator has a number of tasks:  He is the company’s agent.  He has the power to remove and replace directors and employees. but must act in the best interests of all the company’s creditors. sell assets and borrow money. the court may dismiss the administrator or make such provisions as it sees fit.  The administrator may apply to the court for discharge at any time.  He has wide powers to manage the business and property of the company. which must be approved at a meeting of creditors within eight weeks of the commencement of administration.  If the meeting approves the proposals. this term can be extended with the consent of the court or the secured creditors. Ending the administration The administration will end when it is completed or when the administrator is discharged by the court:  The administration must normally be completed within 12 months of the ate on which it commenced.  He must draw up a statement of his proposals. He must make an application when the purpose 57 . Consequences of administration The appointment of an administrator has the following effects:  the rights of creditors to enforce any security over the company’s assets are suspended  any petition for winding up is dismissed  no resolution may be passed to wind up the company  the directors still continue in office. If an employee’s contract is not adopted by the administrator within 14 days.

the means of attaining those objectives and monitoring performance.of the order has been achieved. Corporate governance provides the structure through which the company’s objectives are met. governance and company law Compliance Penalties requirements Law The law must Penalties for always be infringement obeyed. It covers topics such as:  how power is divided between the board and the shareholders  the accountability of the board to the members  the rules and procedures for making decisions. Interaction of ethics. He must also notify the registrar and all of the creditors. of the law may be civil or criminal. Civil remedies may allow the company to recover funds from directors who breach their legal obligations. Introduction Definition Corporate governance is the system by which companies are directed and controlled. A fine and/or 58 . Corporate governance Chapter learning objectives Upon completion of this chapter you will be able to:  explain the idea of corporate governance  recognise the extralegal codes of corporate governance  identify and explain the legal regulation of corporate governance.

must specify the provisions with which it has not complied. and give reasons for its noncompliance. individuals reputation. generally have dismissal freedom of choice from their job and as to their conduct. sanctions may However. The stock exchange There are no formal rules penalties for require listed noncompliance. If an action is may suffer loss of legal. Accountants are expected to follow the code of ethics published by their 59 . companies to However. the comply with the company may Combined suffer loss of Code (see below). although it is considered best practice to do so. reputation and If a listed company receive bad does not comply. Unlisted companies are under no obligation to comply. it publicity. It is said that ethics An individual who begin where the law behaves unethically ends.Corporate governance Ethics imprisonment might result from certain criminal infringements. demanded by the law. good possibly be imposed ethical behaviour by their may be above that professional body.

which applies to reporting years beginning on or after 1 November 2006. The history of corporate governance in the UK The Combined Code on Corporate Governance History The Combined Code on Corporate Governance was first issued in 1998. A revised version of the Code was issued in 2003. The main principles of each section are outlined below. The section for companies is subdivided into four areas:     directors directors’ remuneration accountability and audit relations with shareholders. The most recent version. Directors (1) Every company should be headed by an effective board. There were a few minor changes. It consisted of principles and provisions (best practice). This revised Code consisted of main principles. supporting principles and provisions (practical requirements). None of the main principles have been changed. together with some of the supporting principles. The Code has three appendices:  the Turnbull Guidance on internal audit  the Smith Guidance on audit committees  the Higgs Guidance on best practice. 60 . Contents The Code is divided into two sections:  Section one is for companies  Section two is for institutional shareholders.professional body. which is collectively responsible for the success of the company. which are outlined later. was issued by the Financial Reporting Council in June 2006.

The supporting principle indicates that this main principle should be met by splitting the roles of chairman and chief executive:  the chairman should be responsible for the working of the board and the agenda for board meetings  the chief executive should have full operational control and authority to carry out the policies determined by the board. (3) The board should include a balance of executive directors and NEDs (and in particular independent NEDs). rigorous and transparent procedure for the appointment of new directors to the board. subject to continued satisfactory performance. (7) All directors should be submitted for reelection at regular intervals. The supporting principle indicates that the following persons cannot be regarded as independent:  anyone who has been an employee of the company in the previous five years  anyone who has had a material business relationship with the company in the previous three years  anyone who has served on the board for more than nine years. No one individual should have unfettered powers of decision. (4) There should be a formal. All directors should receive induction on joining the board and should regularly update and refresh their skills and knowledge. The board should ensure planned and progressive refreshing of the board.(2) There should be a clear division of responsibilities at the head of the company between the running of the board and the executive responsibility for the running of the company’s business. such that no individual or small group of individuals can dominate the board’s decision taking. (6) The board should undertake a formal and rigorous annual evaluation of its own performance and that of its committees and individual directors. Directors’ remuneration 61 . (5) The board should be supplied in a timely manner with information in a form and of a quality appropriate to enable it to discharge its duties.

Accountability and audit (1) The board should present a balanced and understandable assessment of the company’s position and prospects. The main role and responsibilities of the audit committee should be set out in written terms of reference and should include: 62 . The committee should meet at least three times during the year at times coinciding with key dates within the financial reporting and audit cycle. The Code provides that the board should establish an audit committee of at least three (or in the case of smaller companies two) members. There should be a formal and transparent procedure for developing policy on executive remuneration and for fixing the remuneration packages of individual directors. retain and motivate directors of the quality required to run the company successfully. The Code provides that service contracts and notice periods should not exceed one year.(1) (2) Levels of remuneration should be sufficient to attract. No director should be involved in deciding his or her own remuneration. The board should satisfy itself that at least one member of the audit committee has recent and relevant financial experience. provided the individual continues to be independent. Appointments should be made by the board for a period of up to three years. (3) The board should establish formal and transparent arrangements for considering how they should apply the financial reporting and internal control principles and for maintaining an appropriate relationship with the company’s auditors. but a company should avoid paying more than is necessary for this purpose. This may be extended by up to two more threeyear periods. (2) The board should maintain a sound system of internal control to safeguard shareholders’ investment and the company’s assets. who should all be independent nonexecutive directors. A significant proportion of executive directors’ remuneration should be structured so as to link rewards to corporate and individual performance.

particularly those relating to board structure and composition. The board as a whole has responsibility for ensuring that a satisfactory dialogue with shareholders takes place. Relations with shareholders (1) There should be a dialogue with shareholders based on the mutual understanding of objectives. The committee should ensure that these are subject to independent investigation and appropriate follow up action. in confidence. institutional shareholders should give due weight to all relevant factors drawn to their attention. 63 . monitoring the integrity of the financial statements of the company  reviewing the company’s internal financial controls and risk management systems  monitoring and reviewing the effectiveness of the company’s internal audit function  making recommendations in relation to the appointment. reappointment and removal of the external auditor  reviewing and monitoring the external auditor’s independence and objectivity and the effectiveness of the audit process  developing and implementing policy on the engagement of the external auditor to supply non audit services. (2) When evaluating companies’ governance arrangements. (3) Institutional shareholders have a responsibility to make considered use of their votes. (2) The board should use the annual general meeting (AGM) to communicate with investors and to encourage their participation. The audit committee should also ensure that arrangements are in place by which staff of the company may. Institutional shareholders (1) Institutional shareholders should enter into a dialogue with companies based on the mutual understanding of objectives. raise concerns about possible improprieties in matters of financial reporting or other matters.

:  The restriction on a company chairman serving on a remuneration committee has been relaxed. 64 . However.The 2006 Combined Code The FRC issued a new version of the code on 27 June 2006. This means that the Combined Code can be updated to espond to changing conditions and changing expectations of shareholders and others. This means that under a rulesbased approach the directors may follow the letter of the rules. the report should be more meaningful than one based on specific detailed requirements. e. rather than their spirit. it is still recommended that the chairman should not chair the committee.  A ‘vote withheld’ option should be included on proxy forms so that investors can indicate reservations about resolutions that they do not wish to vote against. Rules based versus principles based approaches to governance The Combined Code is a set of principles. A principles based approach to governance has the following advantages and disadvantages. rather than a set of rules. A principlesbased approach encourages the directors to follow the spirit of the Code; whereas a rulesbased approach may result in a tickboxes mentality. It requires directors to describe in their own words the way in which they have applied the general principles of corporate governance. Advantages    Because the directors report on the actual circumstances of their own company. A code of practice can be changed much more easily than statutory requirements.  A recommendation that companies publish on their website the details of proxies lodged at a general meeting where votes are taken on a show of hands. The new version contains a few changes.g.

e. Established liability for wrongful and fraudulent trading. The legal regulation of corporate governance Introduction The legislation covering corporate governance has been covered in earlier chapters. meaningless statements. Allows the court to disqualify someone from being a director if they: • have persistently breached the companies legislation • are found to be unfit. allowing the company and/or the board to negotiate directors’ service contracts. management or liquidation of a company. Specifies the duties that directors owe to their companies. The SarbanesOxley Act 2002 The SarbanesOxley Act 2002 is a US law that applies to all companies (including foreign companies) that have a listing on 65 . Provides the main framework for the legislation affecting companies. formation. Permits the liquidator to set aside transactions at an undervalue or where the company has given a preference. Contains the legislation on insider dealing CA06 IA 1986 CDDA 1986 CJA 1993 .g. It may be difficult for the directors to see whether they have met the specific requirements of the Code. The following table gives you an indication of where to find the relevant provisions: Model articles Set out the internal constitution of the company. Specifies that a director’s service contract cannot exceed two years unless first approved by the members.Disadvantages   A principlesbased approach tends to result in general. or • are convicted of an indictable offence in connection with the promotion.

Legislation The offences Criminal Justice Act 1993 An individual who has information as an insider is guilty of insider dealing if: • they deal in securities that are price affected in relation to the information • they encourage another person to deal (knowing or having reasonable 66 . It was introduced in the wake of corporate scandals such as the unexpected collapse of Enron and WorldCom. This certificate must be signed by the company’s principal executive officer and principal financial officer. Fraudulent behaviour Chapter learning objectives Upon completion of this chapter you will be able to: • recognise the nature and legal control over insider dealing • recognise the nature and legal control over money laundering • discuss potential criminal activity in the operation. However. This differs from the UK where it is principlesbased with an emphasis on voluntary compliance. he could anticipate which way the price was likely to move and thereby make a profit. management and winding up of companies • distinguish between fraudulent and wrongful trading. if a prospective purchaser could gain access to such information before it was made public. Insider dealing has been made a criminal offence as it is perceived to undermine the integrity of the stock market. Insider dealing The value of a share reflects the profitability and future prospects of a company. This type of information is usually only available to a prospective purchaser after it has been made available publicly. This is known as ‘insider dealing’. The SarbanesOxley Act requires all companies with a listing in the US to include in their annual report a certificate vouching for the accuracy of the financial statements.the US stock exchange. The US approach to corporate governance is a statutory rulesbased one.

• The individual concerned did not expect the dealing to result in a profit (or the avoidance of a loss) attributable to the fact that the information in question was pricesensitive. and knows that he has it. or agreeing to acquire securities. • The individual believed on reasonable grounds that the information had been widely disclosed. Inside information is information which: • relates to particular securities or to a particular issuer of securities • is specific or precise • has not been made public • if made public would be likely to have a significant effect on the price. office or profession (‘primary insider’) • the direct or indirect source of the information is a person within either of these categories. from an inside source. whether as principal or agent. A person has information as an insider if it is. office or profession). inside information or he has it. employee. Dealing is defined as acquiring or disposing of securities.Dealing Insider Inside information Inside source Defences cause to believe that dealing would take place) • they disclose the information (otherwise than in the proper performance of the functions of their employment. and he knows that it is. or shareholder of an issuer of securities (‘primary insider’) • he has it through having access to the information by virtue of his employment. A person has information from an inside source if and only if: • he has it through being a director. • The individual would have done what he did even if he had not had the information. 67 .

he is in breach of his fiduciary duty and may be liable to account to the company for any profit made. such as accountants.Consequences • There is an additional defence in relation to the disclosure offence if the individual can prove that he reasonably believed that the recipient of the information would not act upon it. or place to place. The offences 68 . No civil compensation. in order to conceal its initial source  integration – the culmination of the previous procedures through which the money takes on the appearance of coming from a legitimate source. Imprisonment (of six months on a summary conviction or seven years on indictment) and a fine. If the individual concerned is a director. The three phases Money laundering usually comprises three distinct phases:  placement – the initial disposal of the proceeds of criminal activity into an apparently legitimate business activity or property  layering – the transfer of money from business to business. The aim of disguising the source of the property is to allow the holder to enjoy it free from suspicion as to its source. Transactions remain valid and enforceable. The legislation imposes some important obligations upon professionals. Money laundering Definition Money laundering is the process by which the proceeds of crime are converted into assets which appear to have a legal rather than an illegal source. Legislation Money laundering is primarily regulated by the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002. auditors and legal advisers. These obligations require such professionals to report money laundering to the authorities and to have systems in place to train staff and keep records.

disposition. Laundering It is an offence to conceal. or have reasonable grounds for knowing or suspecting.  constitutes an offence in any part of the UK  would constitute an offence in any part of the UK if it occurred there. such as accountants. Wales. or directly to the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA). failure to report and tipping off. that another person is engaged in laundering the proceeds of crime. It therefore covers the situation where an accountant informs a client that a report has been submitted to SOCA. Scotland or Northern Ireland: s327 Proceeds of Crime Act 2002. who are acting in the course of business in the regulated sector. or any rights connected with it. location.The Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 created three categories of criminal offence: laundering. Failure to report Under s330 individuals carrying on a ‘relevant business’ may be guilty of an offence of failing to disclose knowledge or suspicion of money laundering where they know or suspect. source. Concealing or disguising criminal property includes concealing or disguising its nature. Any individual who is covered by s330 is required to make disclosure to a nominated money laundering reporting officer within their organisation. ‘Criminal property’ is defined as property which the alleged offender knows (or suspects) constitutes or represents benefit from any criminal conduct. 69 . ‘Criminal conduct’ is defined as conduct that:  constitutes an offence in any part of the UK  would constitute an offence in any part of the UK if it occurred there. transfer or remove criminal property from England. convert. This offence only relates to individuals. Tipping off S333 states that it is an offence to make a disclosure likely to prejudice a money laundering investigation. movement or ownership. disguise. as soon as is practicable.

or  fail to provide information or explanations required by the auditor. false or deceptive information or explanations. an auditor is entitled to require from the company’s officers and employees such information and explanation as he thinks necessary for the performance of his duties as auditor. It is also a criminal offence to fail to disclose 70 . Potential criminal activity in the operation.000 for each offence. An individual can defend such a charge if he can prove that it was not reasonably practicable to provide the information or explanations required. a director could end up with a criminal record and a fine of up to £5.Penalties The maximum penalty for the s327 offence of money laundering is 14 years’ imprisonment. It is a criminal offence for an officer of the company to:  provide misleading. if that approval has not been obtained. Failure to report and tipping off are punishable on conviction by a maximum of five years’ imprisonment and/or a fine. management and winding up of companies Introduction There are a number of criminal offences that could be undertaken by individuals concerned in the operation. All the directors of a company in default could be prosecuted. Business Names Act 1985 It is a criminal offence to use a business name that requires prior approval. If convicted. Providing misleading information to an auditor Under s499 CA06. management or winding up of a company. Failure to file accounts or annual returns Failure to deliver accounts or annual returns on time is a criminal offence. Many of these points have been covered in earlier chapters and so are only dealt with in outline here.

It is a criminal offence to contravene the provisions. They prevent the person being a director of a company with a similar name. punishable by imprisonment and/or a fine. These details include stating the company’s corporate name and address for the service of documents. or a name which suggests an association with the previous company. without leave of the court. Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986 (CDDA 1986) Under s13 CDDA 1986. Fraudulent trading can give rise to: 71 . S15 CDDA 1986 provides that anyone who is involved in the management of a company while disqualified. Phoenix companies S216 and s217 Insolvency Act 1986 (IA 1986) are aimed at so called ‘phoenix companies’. In addition. They apply where a person was a director or shadow director of a company at any time in the period of 12 months ending with the day before the company went into liquidation.the business details that the Act requires. any person who acts in contravention of a disqualification order (or while an undischarged bankrupt) is guilty of an offence. the director will be personally liable for any debts of the new company which are incurred when he was involved in its management. The maximum penalty is:  two years’ imprisonment and/or a fine on conviction on indictment  up to six months’ imprisonment and/or a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum on a summary conviction. shall be personally liable for the company’s debts incurred during the time they acted. The provisions apply for the five years following liquidation. Fraudulent and wrongful trading Fraudulent trading Fraudulent trading occurs where the company’s business is carried on with intent to defraud creditors or for any fraudulent purpose. or who acts on the instructions of someone who is disqualified.

They must take some active step.  If a director. In Re Maidstone Buildings (1971) it was established that a person is not ‘party’ merely by reason of knowledge.  If found guilty of the criminal offence. the individual can be fined and/or imprisoned for up to 10 years. The director is expected to reach those conclusions and take such steps as a reasonably diligent person would take. Wrongful trading The provision of ‘wrongful trading’ contained in s214 IA 1986 is designed to remove one of the difficult obstacles to the establishment of being party to fraudulent trading – namely proving dishonesty. The second point required to establish liability is that the person concerned shall be knowingly a party to the fraudulent trading. It applies only to directors and shadow directors.  R v Grantham (1984) Facts: The directors ordered a consignment of potatoes on a month’s credit at a time when they knew that payment would not be forthcoming at the end of the month when it was due. such as the ordering of goods.civil liability under s213 IA 1986 if the company is in the course of being wound up  criminal liability under s993 CA06 whether or not the company is in the course of being wound up. It is necessary to establish dishonest intent. The legislation also expects such a director to: 72 . they may be disqualified for 15 years under CDDA1986. The court also added that if the directors honestly believed the debts would eventually be paid there would be no intent to defraud. In Re William C Leith Bros (1932) it was said that if the directors carry on the business and cause the company to incur further debts at a time when they know that there is no reasonable prospect of those debts being paid this is a proper inference of dishonesty. Held: The directors were convicted of fraudulent trading. Fraudulent trading can give rise to the following consequences:  The court can order the individual to contribute to the company's assets.

thereby increasing the assets available for distribution to the creditors  They may be disqualified for 15 years under CDDA 1986. 73 . This means that the director could be made liable for those actions he should have carried out but failed to.000 to the assets of the company (equating to the net debts incurred during the wrongful trading period) on the grounds that:  they would have known that liquidation was inevitable in July 1986 had the company produced timely internal accounts and this therefore marked the beginning of the period from which they should have been minimising losses to creditors  while trading on to dispose of assets might sometimes be justifiable.e. When considering the director’s functions.e. for alue. of the company’s goods. Wrongful trading can give rise to the following consequences:  a liquidator may apply to the court for an order that the director should make such contribution to the company’s assets as the court thinks fit. arguing that this period of trading minimised the loss to creditors by allowing an orderly disposal. In February 1987 the directors recognised that liquidation was inevitable but carried on trading until October 1987. had a continuing trading loss and had an excess of liabilities over assets. this is a subjective test). Held: The court required them to contribute £75. after trading successfully for nine years. skill and experience he himself has (i.  Re Produce Marketing Consortium Ltd (No 2) (1989) Facts: The company. the directors had done no more than dispose of assets and so had failed to take every step to minimise losses. this is an objective test)  use the general knowledge.have the general knowledge. skill and experience which may reasonably be expected of a person carrying out the same functions as were carried out y that director (i. the court will have regard not only to those functions he carried out but also to those entrusted to him. built up an overdraft.

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